Murder, Suicide or Accident: The Forensic Pathologist at Work by Welsh author Bernard Knight, who has also written the popular Crowner John mystery series, is his vintage non-fiction professional overview cum memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.
This was originally published in 1971 by Robert Hale using the Bernard Picton pseudonym. This is a combination of Q&A and true crime memoir about forensic pathology in Britain in the decades leading up to the 1970s, drawing upon the author’s own personal experience, which he would later incorporate into his bestselling mystery novels. Although this has not been updated to cover developments in the years since, the original information about investigative procedures and medical knowledge still provides a nifty snapshot of everything you might want to know about what could be detected from potential crime scenes and how it was handled back then.
Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.
Free for a limited time, available worldwide @ Amazon
What exactly does a forensic pathologist do?
Written under a pseudonym by a practising full-time forensic pathologist and ex-Home Office consultant, the “inside story” is given for the first time of this macabre, yet vital profession which contributes to keeping Britain a country with one of the lowest murder rates in the world.
However, murder, although the topic which attracts all the publicity, is the smallest part of the function of a forensic pathologist.
The major part of his work concerns the investigation of other causes of sudden death — accidents, suicides and natural disease. These pages show how the community is best served by the careful reconstruction of traffic, domestic and industrial accidents and the documentation of natural diseases which adds to the sum total of preventive medical knowledge.
In spite of the relative rarity of murder investigations, a large part of the book is devoted to details of how the pathologist goes about his examination of the scene of a crime, the identification of the victim and the interpretation of the common methods of homicide.
The author shows how specialised medical experience assists in the reconstruction of deaths, whether it be by bullet, knife or rope, and he describes the salient features of death associated with sexual crimes, abortion and infant deaths.